January 13, 2009

English Only Amendment... FIGHT!!

Well, first off you may notice that shit looks different. Again. I can't help it.

Anywho, the battle to pass the English Only amendment is really gaining ground this time around. Let me make a more coherent post about that other than dismissing it as being "silly"...well, it is but being silly doesn't stop something from getting passed. WE ALL KNOW THAT.

First off, I mentioned that this was proposed a few years ago, but was shot down by I think then Mayor Bill Purcell. New mayor Karl Dean also told the proposal to fuck off and has voted against it.

This is the week of early voting, actual voting is January 22.

I should also mention that this isn't for the whole state of Tennessee, it's just for the Nashville/Metro-Davidson County area. Which is actually a large area anyway.

So you may still be wondering what the big deal is. So you wanna pass an English only bill, big damn deal right? Well, no. I like sub-headings, let's do sub-headings.

I. What, exactly, happens if this bill passes?

That is actually the major question and that's what's important. From the information I've gathered, the proposal just wants to cut all that silly non-English communication provided by Metro govt. I'm assuming this means no more bilingual, trilingual, multilingual communication from Metro services. EVERYTHING will be in English. We're even holding up the hand to people who don't speak English. God forbid they want to do business with us or anything. But don't take my word for it (emphasis mine):

“English is the official language of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee. Official actions which bind or commit the government shall be taken only in the English language, and all official government communications and publications shall be in English. No person shall have a right to government services in any other language. All meetings of the Metro Council, Boards, and Commissions of the Metropolitan Government shall be conducted in English. The Metro Council may make specific exceptions to protect public health and safety. Nothing in this measure shall be interpreted to conflict with federal or state law.”

II. Okay, I see that bold part. What's your beef?

We live in an English speaking country anyway, theoretically you should already know English. In theory.

Getting aside from the fact that we all know damned good and well that not everyone in this country speaks English, be it well or at all, here's the worst thing about this wonderful "proposal".

The official language of Tennessee?

...IS FUCKING ENGLISH. It's already WRITTEN IN OUR DAMN CONSTITUTION! By now you should be thinking...

III. Okay. ...Wait, what?

That's right, the official language of TN is already English, and here we are trying to make the official language of a CITY...ENGLISH.

And that is exactly where this proposal fails to make any sense at all. How the hell are we trying to amend our Metro Charter so that English is the official language...and it already LEGALLY IS? They obviously either failed a few government classes or just want to save themselves the inconvenience of translating anything--but hold on, translating. Nevermind the fact that I don't think I've seen any of these so called bilingual translations that the city seems to not want to inconvenience itself with anyway. Walk around, everything here is pretty much English anyway unless it's an ethnic-owned place, then it's either in English or in X language, say Spanish. I've seen several car shops owned by Mexicans, their signs are in Spanish. They live in large Spanish neighborhoods, they usually serve Spanish people, many of them probably speak English well enough anyway. What is really the point here.

I don't know what the pro-English only side is arguing, and honestly I'd like to see it. So far I've only heard from the Belmont and Lipscomb crowds (that being all white, rich, privileged private college kids. I know, call me biased, I'm really not sorry). I just hope their argument isn't as damned embarrassing as this proposal.

IV. Alright, what do you think should be done?

I've said it before, but if the state really doesn't want to convenience itself with those wacky non-English speaking folk, then damnit do something about it. Provide more resources to teach them English, don't just look at them and go "I CAN'T UNDERSTAND YOU LALALALA"

That's not fair and that's just ignorant. The other thing would be...to...uh...not pass the bill. So many people are against this it isn't funny and is becoming more embarrassing still. I'm hoping it'll fail and die a quiet death for no one to ever propose it again. Seriously, this is stupid, I think it's stupid.

For me this isn't just a government issue but a people issue as well. How dare we turn away those that don't speak English well, not that we haven't been doing it forever and we're trying to do it still? You know what, in addition to making me pay for my classes by the HOUR (and I'm a full time goddamn student), TN can pretty much go to hell. YES I'm biased and I don't care!

If you're still interested, please try Compassion Politic's article, the analysis on this blog, and even the Anti-English Only Facebook group. This shit spreads way beyond "Hey let's make everything English!" when you realize what "everything" entails.

Uggggh. Boooo, Nashville.

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